Cinema Review – 50/50
How can a film that is about dealing with cancer be funny? Surely that is poor taste? Well 50/50 is probably one of the most bitter sweet films you will ever see.
TITLE – 50/50 YEAR – 2011 DIRECTOR – JONATHAN LEVINE CAST – JOSEPH GORDON-LEVITT, SETH ROGEN, ANNA KENDRICK WRITERS – WILL REISER
I am the first to admit that I had my doubts about this film. When I saw the trailer and read the releases about the plot, I thought this just sounds sick. How is it going to be funny? Oh No a gross out film with Rogen ruining it again. But I was definitely not prepared for the ride that 50/50 took me on.
We follow the story of Adam, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, a young, healthy young man. He doesn’t smoke, drink, and exercises regularly. However early on we learn he has got a dose of rare spinal cancer. As Adam undergoes the treatment we watch as he struggle to maintain the relationships with his best friend, mother, girlfriend and therapist, played by Seth Rogen, Anjelica Houston, Bryce Dallas Howard, and Anna Kendrick respectively.
Writer Will Reiser had a very difficult job writing this story. I comedy about Cancer could be a whole load of wrong. It is a very fine line between a farcical slap stick comedy with no taste at all, and a film that plays down the humour so much that it just isn’t funny. Thankfully Reiser got this spot on. He hit the sweet spot. 50/50 had me going from laughing out loud to bawling my eyes out and back again. It was a real roller coaster, and I loved every minute of it.
The script is absolutely perfect, the dialogue is snappy and with enough wit to reel you in and get you completely invested in all of the characters. The awkwardness of Adam’s friends and family is shown brilliantly, they have to try to find the right things to say to keep Adam positive, all the time dealing with their own emotions and sadness at their loved ones illness.
JGL is astonishing in this film. He is the dramatic centre of the story, not completely without humour, but he is where the drama is at. JGL does a fantastic job of showing Adam’s conflicting feelings. He doesn’t want to be handled with kitten gloves, he is not a precious china doll, but he also doesn’t want to be forgotten about. The most dramatic and tear jerking moments are in the quiet parts where Adam is staring down the barrel of his own mortality, he shows the fear and anger of a man who has been put in this situation with no fault of his own. I would love if Gordon-Levitt got a nod at the Oscars this year for this performance, form charming and funny to wildly depressed and scared, he shows an amazing range.
But, this film is not all about JGL. The supporting cast was all very solid putting in great performances. Seth Rogen has gone through a rough patch with me, Green Hornet was a low point in our relationship as Movie star and viewer, but with 50/50 I think we have turned a corner. The chemistry between the two best friends was perfect. We needed Rogen and his childish humour to balance out the sombre side of the story at times. Not only that but he also has some dramatic chops, who would’ve thought it? He is as upset about his best buddy’s illness as anyone, he just hides it deep deep down. Kendrick’s turn as the young therapist who has little experience but a huge amount of compassion was great too, she is admirable and a lovable character. Also Anjelica Houston is in fantastic form, her erratic, protective and flighty Mother who would sweep Adam up in her arms if only he would let her, will make every son or parent cry. She lights up every scene she is in.
Some may find the storyline hard to swallow but the expert hands of Jonathan Levine bring this story to life. He blends the drama and comedy just right. I loved the clever use of shifting focus too.
50/50 is now fighting for the top spot as my film of the year. I left the theatre completely drained but totally uplifted. It is a keeper
[starreview tpl=16 size='30']
50/50 IS OUT NATIONALLY IN UK ON 25TH NOVEMBER 2011
Are you interested in this film? Are you a fan of JGL? Should he get a nod for this role? Comment below.